Maternal and perinatal undernutrition affects the lung development of litters and it may produce long-lasting alterations in respiratory health. This can be demonstrated using animal models and epidemiological studies. During pregnancy, maternal diet controls lung development by direct and indirect mechanisms. For sure, food intake and caloric restriction directly influence the whole body maturation and the lung. In addition, the maternal food intake during pregnancy controls mother, placenta, and fetal endocrine systems that regulate nutrient uptake and distribution to the fetus and pulmonary tissue development. There are several hormones involved in metabolic regulations, which may play an essential role in lung development during pregnancy. This review focuses on the effect of metabolic hormones in lung development and in how undernutrition alters the hormonal environment during pregnancy to disrupt normal lung maturation. We explore the role of GLP-1, ghrelin, and leptin, and also retinoids and cholecalciferol as hormones synthetized from diet precursors. Finally, we also address how metabolic hormones altered during pregnancy may affect lung pathophysiology in the adulthood.
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